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Annie in Austin
Welcome! As "Annie in Austin" I blog about gardening in Austin, TX with occasional looks back at our former gardens in Illinois. My husband Philo & I also make videos - some use garden images as background for my original songs, some capture Austin events & sometimes we share videos of birds in our garden. Come talk about gardens, movies, music, genealogy and Austin at the Transplantable Rose and listen to my original songs on YouTube. For an overview read Three Gardens, Twenty Years. Unless noted, these words and photos are my copyrighted work.
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Saturday, April 14, 2007

Petals and Parody

Spring has been eluding so many of you, but it's already arrived in my Austin garden. White Mockorange and purple Iris filled the last post – here’s another purple flower for April Garden Bloggers Bloom Day

In March 2001, a Clematis labeled “Comtesse de Bouchaud” came with two vines in one container. Both vines lived - one is the white clematis at the base of the Lady Banks Rose. The other one is this reddish-purple clematis near the back door. Neither of them look one bit like the lilac-pink “Comtesse de Bouchaud”! Now on to some coral colors -

In spring 2006 I planted my motley collection of Christmas amaryllis in the ground. Some lived, and three amaryllis flowers are opening in this partially shaded raised bed. A previous owner planted the unnamed, day-glow rose.

Two tall, once-blooming roses were already here, too. The roses are pretty, but the foliage is usually a mess. I occasionally feed and water them, pull off the worst leaves a couple of times a year and otherwise ignore them.

Another legacy! This big pink climbing rose also blooms once a year, with huge fragrant flowers that lean down to make me notice them whenever I go out the gate. They have an old-fashioned, real rose smell.

This spring a few of the dropped seeds from last year's plant of Nemophila menziesii AKA Baby Blue Eyes sprouted, and four of them bloomed. The flowers are small, barely visible from 3-feet away. Maybe one day I’ll have them established like the colony growing at Zanthan Gardens, or in the wooded areas of Zilker Park.

Mazus reptans, a low, spring-blooming groundcover plant, grows next to the Baby Blue Eyes.

Another reseeder is Salvia ‘Coral Nymph’, which hitched a ride from the last house, and has established itself in several beds. My Cape Cod weeder makes swift work of unwanted seedlings, but I leave a lot of them in place.

More coral from Stachys coccinea, Texas Betony – nicknamed ‘Stinky Sage’ by some Hill Country residents. It looks nothing like its fuzzy gray Stachys cousin Lambs Ears.

I didn’t take any photos of plants like the pansies, violas and various containers of ‘Telstar’ dianthus, since they’ve been blooming most of the winter. Summer heat will kill the pansies, and the dianthus will stop blooming and rest before starting another bloom cycle.

Posting this photo may not be too different from buying a bakery cake, sliding it onto a pan and passing it off as homemade. I just planted this golden yellow rose on Thursday! It's reputed to be heat resistant, disease resistant, scented, and was personally chosen by Julia Child herself before she died, perhaps because the flower color is close to her beloved butter.

Yellow roses have always been our special flower. When I graduated from high school, Philo gave me a dozen yellow roses. They appeared at our wedding, at anniversaries and the David Austin rose ‘Graham Thomas’ flourished in our Illinois garden. I hope ‘Julia Child’ will thrive to become 'our' yellow rose at this house.

And for the last flower - here is the tiny blossom that most of you yearn to see, wanting them even more than roses!

That concludes the PETALS portion of this post – now on to the PARODY.
As station KAEFKA, we're working on an original song for our YouTube collection right now, [the ones we've already made are in the side links] but we paused to have some fun with an old tune. Nick played the ancient folk song “Greensleeves” on resonator, I wrote some new words, and Philo added photos.
Have any of you seen articles and shows about the 'new green'? I respect people who aspire to green living - many of them have been plugging along for decades. Their valid concepts were ridiculed & ignored at first, before becoming mainstream with time. But lately, green living seems to have been co-opted by the wealthy and the fashionistas. The home-fashion press is splashed with pages of green renovations for mansions rather than normal homes. When I read that the cost of redoing a 1000 square-foot attic rec room to make it 'green', was three times the price of my house, I could weep or gnash my teeth, or I could make it into a musical joke.

You can use this link to our YouTube site - GREENED HOUSE VIDEO .

Or, if the YouTube screen shows up below you can click on the screen.



  1. As usual, your posts never disappoint! Your flowers are lovely, and the parody is too funny. That clematis is something else! Thanks for participating in Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day.

  2. The roses are so beautiful that I can almost smell them. You must really be enjoying your garden at this time of year.

    Your song was excellent. Tell Philo he did a great job putting the photos together -- especially Ramon and his girls!

    You both are so talented and how wonderful that you share the same interests.

  3. Austin TX. I enjoyed your blooms Sunday photos! So many I cannot believe it! Come see what's happening in my part of the world.Canadian NG

  4. I like the little nemophila, would be wonderfull as a mass planting. I adore tiny little things, this is such a sweet looking flower.
    Love your song, my family and I watched it and laughed!

  5. What a gorgeous array of blooms you have in your garden. My Canadian garden is just waking up. I have lots of plants poking through the ground. It has been wonderful visiting your garden on Garden Bloggers Bloom Day.

  6. Annie, you must have been destined to be a yellow rose of Texas. Like Carol, I love the clematis. I will listen to the parody later; I'm on a borrowed computer right now. Enjoy this gorgeous day!

  7. I love the clematis, whatever it is. I hope to add one this year. The yellow rose is pretty. I don't think I want a climbing rose, at my last house the one already there grew two stories high and right into the siding.

    I enjoyed the video. I guess I can't afford to go totally green. :)

  8. Annie, congratulations too on your Mouse & Trowel nominations. They are well-deserved.

  9. Good luck with your Julia Child...it sounds like a really good choice. But I like your other yellow flower! When do you usually get to pick tomatoes? Mine aren't even in the ground yet.

  10. The Texas Betony is beautiful.... I never would have guessed it was related to the Lambs Ears!
    All of your blooms are a treat to see!

  11. Oh, Annie, what fun the video is! You guys are great!

    Last year I ordered some annuals from Annie's (haha) and the Baby Blue Eyes was one of them! It was the first time I had grown it and I liked it! However, I haven't seen any of them reseed (as promised)...I guess they probably mean San Fran...but lucky you! (Ye gads on the shipping cost from San Fran to VA)

    Do you like the Mazus reptans? I saw it recently in the Steppables line and am wondering about it. I'm into ground covers!

    I hadn't thought of yellow=butter=Julia Child! lol! It looks to be a beautiful rose! None of mine are in bloom yet or even close that I've noticed...so, I will enjoy all of yours!

    Loved visiting your garden today!

    Congrats on your nomination! Much deserved!

  12. Now I have the theme song from "The Transplantable Rose" video stuck in my head! I had a good laugh watching the "Greened House" video along with the "Divas of Dirt" too. You are one creative person ... besides having a magical touch in the dirt.

    The clematis is gorgeous as is the climbing rose and the yellow rose ... I hope it blooms plentiful for many years to come!!

    Keep on posting those videos!

  13. Annie, I'm another one who's loving the flowers on that Texas betony. What a great warm color those sport.

    Congratulations on your well-deserved Mouse & Trowel Awards! (I'll have to sneak over to your blog during my lunch break at work tomorrow, because my speakers on this laptop are horrendous.)

  14. I like the purple clematis, even if it isn't what you thought you were getting. I also have some clematis that are nothing like what the label said, but mine aren't pretty. And I'm also admiring the Texas Betony. I think I like the flowers better than the S. coccinea hybrids.

    <kidding>Maybe you could visit SXSW next year and land a big recording contract for huge piles of money to green your house.</kidding> I'd settle for a greenhouse :-) But seriously, I loved the video!

  15. Annie — I quite jealous of your clematis. I've tried clematis several times and they've all died, probably because I didn't water them (or maybe it's that north Austin/south Austin thing). I also want a yellow rose. My mom gave me another pink rose for my birthday and I secretly wished it had been yellow. I'm looking forward to seeing everything next week. And again, congratulations on the Mouse & Trowel noms.

  16. Oh Annie, you've made my day! The haunting melody and lyrics of Greensleeves usually makes me cry, but your version made me laugh out loud. You're oh-so-talented in many ways!

    I love your comparison of the newly planted yellow rose to passing off a bakery cake as homemade! And my Comtesse de Bouchard is a different color not only from yours but from its label too. Eventually it will bloom and I'll post a picture of it. Thanks for another great post!

  17. Ah, yellow roses for you are like poet's narcissus for me! Congratulations on your nominations. Thanks for the tour of the garden. I think after four or five years of Texas gardening blogs I am finally wrapping my mind around the concept of roses in April. Zanthan gardens often has had narcissus and roses blooming at the same time . . . and spirea! How could that be? They all bloom at distinctly different times around here.

  18. Hello Carol, and congratulations on the nominations! I'm glad you liked the video, and since you gave all of us a venue to show off our flowers, we should be thanking you.
    La Gringa, we had some nice rain in March, so this year the trees look full and the digging is easier.
    Philo is a good sport about the videos - and it would not have been the same without your little flock. Thank you for letting me use their photos.
    Hello Naturegirl~ thank you for coming to visit - Ontario is a cool place!

    Salix Tree, I like big splashy things sometimes, but in some parts of the garden really like making little floral scenes out of small plants.
    Since your family watched it, good thing the video was rated 'G'!
    Crafty Gardener, I can't take credit for planting some of them, but all three of the climbing roses were buried under overgrown shrubs and trees, so I will take credit for uncovering them ;-]
    You're also in Ontario? I wish you some spring weather very soon!
    Pam/Digging, that's a funny idea - was Philo planning this for decades?
    Congratulations on ALL your nominations - you have an amazing garden blog!
    Apple ... shhh - people have told me clematis isn't supposed to grow here ;-].
    Actually - you see them all over my area, in spite of the rulebook. They take a few years to get going, but I do love the flowers. Two stories high! I've heard that some Musk roses can cover a castle - did you have one of those?
    I'm glad you enjoyed the video - and the joke.
    Pam/Digging, I'm still in shock- and still afraid that Colleen will send an email saying it was a mistake! It's so cool!
    Cyndy, mine is in too much shade, so doesn't form as many flowers as Pam/Digging gets from her betony - but the flowers seem to fade less. I got the original plant at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center here in Austin, and recently divided it so I could have more of that coral!
    Another betony, Stachys macrantha, has violet flowers and green leaves, and is also called Big Betony. I grew it when we lived in Illinois.
    Hi Gotta Garden, thanks for liking our video!
    I've heard that Annie's Annuals is a wonderful place, but shipping is expensive. I hope the Baby Blue Eyes will still sprout for you now that the ground has warmed. I do like the Mazus reptans - it only blooms in early spring, and seems to be a steady, not aggressive spreader, with interesting leaves. It's not totally drought tolerant, but it grows in shade with an occasional splash of the hose.
    I hope Julia makes it - I read about this rose when it was first released, and have looked for it in other nurseries with no luck - I think it sells out as soon as it arrives.
    Kate, that's what happened to Philo, too - poor man has done 4 videos and said 'A Transplantable Rose' was the hardest to shake!
    I hope Julia will really be a repeat bloomer - the climbers all make one show for a couple of weeks and then zilch for another year.
    Oh Blackswamp Kim, as a nominee yourself, you know how startling it was to see Colleen's page! I need to blog about it, but am still trying to believe it.
    I looked up the Texas Betony - maybe you could figure out how to grow it as a tender plant? It's rated Zone 9, and I'm 8B, so I'm lucky to have it live over!
    Hello Entangled - the clematis were actually from the "rescue table" at the nursery. I wanted to see if I could make one live on the deck at the last house, and the reduced price made it possible to do the experiment. The colors I got are better than what was promised.
    Just the thought of my garden songs at SXSW has me chuckling, Entangled... it would be surreal! How many CD's would get me an 1800-gallon stainless steel rainwater collection unit?
    Susan, keeping the vines for 5 years in ever-larger containers, in great potting soil, gave the vines unbelievable root systems, so when they went in the ground, they were pumped!
    My mom gave me a pink rose for my birthday, too – maybe our mothers still think of us as their little girls LOL.
    Thank you, Susan... it's was quite a thrill to see the nominations.
    Lost Roses, what a compliment! Thank you!
    As to ratting myself out on the Julia - it's my little effort toward that Transparency which is such a buzzword now. Full disclosure seemed the wise course.
    I'd like to see what a Comtesse de Bouchard should look like, but am very happy to keep this purple one in my garden.
    Thank you all for the comments - Annie

  19. Hello Kathy, your comment came in when I hit reply. We are truly lucky to have such special flowers, and the men who brought them. And congratulations to you - Colleen has made life a little more exciting, hasn't she?

    I've been here 8 years this coming July, and am still amazed at the unlikely combinations - along with the Amaryllis [planted in the yard!] and the roses, some daffodils just finished blooming, and Portulaca is budded.
    There's also some guilt involved since our extended families in Illinois are having such a cold and gloomy spring.


  20. Annie, sorry to hear about clematis not being the color you wanted but I think it's pretty cool. I bought one that was suppose to be dark like yours (Star of India?) and it turned out to be this weak baby blue color. I was so upset that I hope it died over the winter to save me the trouble of pulling it and moving it to somewhere else.

  21. Annie,

    I can just imagine the floral scent surrounding me while taking a walk through your garden. Your roses are beauties, especially the one resembling Julia Child's butter :o) I have only one rose bush so far it won't be blooming for a while. The weather has been dastardly!

    Thanks for the video link! Your singing voice and the guitar background is so good! Funny story!

  22. Annie, I do know... I read my name three times before my jaw finally closed. Like you, I want to blog about it but I'm still getting over the shock a bit. I had a total Sally Fields moment after it first sunk in. (You know: "You like me! You really like me!")

    Maybe I could grow the texas betony as an annual. Davesgarden says zone 7 but dislikes winter wet--fine with me, as I have sandy soil. High Country Gardens lists stachys coccinea as hardy to zone 5 with mulching, but do note that theirs are seed propagated. So if I could save the seed from year to year that might be okay. More investigation needed... :)

  23. Hey, where's the post announcing your two M&T Award nominations?? Now don't be modest. They're well deserved and congratulations are in order. Susan

  24. Annie:
    Your blog is so refreshing with the pure, vibrant colors of your blooms and leaves. Amazing how the white of your mock-orange leaps off the screen, and you've caught the tightly-wrapped irridescence of your purple iris in bud. Beautiful, beautiful. I can smell the iris in my mind; that's how fresh and penetrating your photo's are.
    And I'm glad you have roses you can smell. I don't understand roses that have no fragrance. We're lucky here to have a kind of wild shore-line rose called rugosa that's irresistibly fragrant. I've successfully transplanted two of them into my garden.
    Your spring is gorgeous down there, while up here, we're still under snow. ML of Full Fathom

  25. That clematis is such a stunning color - gorgeous! Oh, and I am envious that you already have tomato blossoms. It's so cold here in DC right now, I don't know when I'll be able to get my tomato transplants out to the garden.

    Congratulations on your M&T Award nominations!

  26. Hi Annie,
    Congratulations! Next time I nominate, I'm going to write i down so I remember what I nominated you for!! :) You deserve it, girl! I love your photos. Your comment about the cake is so understood. Between New Braunfels and our local garden center, I made quite a few purchases this weekend. I'm getting them in the ground slowly and it's "instant garden"!! See you soon.

  27. It's not possible to be a gardener, live in Texas and NOT have at least 1 yellow rose, is it? ;-) It's a very pretty one and I hope it will do very well. Loved the tour around your garden blooms. Those Baby Blue Eyes are very pretty and your tomatoes are in flower already, lucky you!

    As for your parody: very funny!

  28. Oh how funny - so I was reading along, thinking about how gorgeous the color of the clematis was, and I was curious about the name of one of the roses (the deep pink one) and I was wondering about the Texas Betony (because we have the hideous Florida Betony that is nothing less than a plague here) - and then I get to your video. I laughed and laughed - because I've been (slowly) going through the process of designing/building a 'green' home, and have realized that I'm only going be as green as I can afford. How funny. I think I'll post this on my site (is that okay?) under 'misc house stuff' because it just summarizes everything! It's perfect.

  29. Omg, What can I say? You are a talented writer of songs and of blogs. I loved your You Tube song.
    It's great! You have so much imagination.

  30. Leslie, all I can do is hope that Julia likes Texas!
    Last year we had the first tomatoes around June 8th - and by the 13th it was already 104º. We had one nice big batch and then just the occasional straggler. The small plum tomato 'Juliet' keeps making a few at a time, even through summer.

    Don't worry, MrBrown Thumb, I like the color, and didn't actually choose the plant for its color... I chose it for being a bargain! Our last house had a big, hot deck, and I liked to experiment with containers. Too bad about no Star of India. In Illinois I grew a lot of clematis. Two other strong colors were 'Niobe' and 'Polish Spirit'.

    Mary, the rose fragrances don't seem to carry far... it's the Tea Olives and Loquats in winter, the Star Jasmine in late spring, and the Night-Blooming Jasmine that are the powerful ones.

    Thanks for watching - YouTube has been a kick!

    Blackswamp Kim, you made a great post on the nominations. And we sure do like you!

    My info on the Betony came from the Claussen perennial book which might be more conservative. Your well-drained soil would be better than my black clay - it might work!

    Hiya Susan Harris, and congratulations to you on the GardenRant nominations. [Modest? Maybe just conflicted... I hadn't decided whether to make a post on the nominations, but Susan's note made me do it.]

    ML, I go back and forth between feeling as if you in the battered north need some spring photos, and feeling guilty that we do have spring. So I'm very glad to know that my pictures bring you pleasure.
    The nameless pink rose was here - I freed it from being smothered, take care of it, and am glad it came with fragrance. Any rose that I choose would have to have some scent.
    I hope Spring arrives for you soon!

    Christa, ours have to go in early, and grow fast or you don't get much. Two short seasons instead of a midsummer bounty. Your photos are stunners - congratulations on the nomination for photography!

    Hello Chris - I was hoping for a chuckle from the cake reference, thanks! I've heard there are some great nurseries along the road to San Antonio, but haven't expanded to them yet. Happy planting.

    Yolanda Elizabet, not this gardener anyway! I did consider trying to recapture the past and order a 'Graham Thomas', but heard they either croak or grow 10-feet tall here in Austin, neither of which sounded like a good idea.
    Congratulations on your nomination for International Garden blog, YE.

    Pam, that is so flattering! I'm glad you had a laugh, and would be proud to have the song on your site. I'd heard about that terrible Florida betony... a warning that some native plants must share genes with Attila the Hun.

    Chigiy, thank you very much! I started writing the garden song collection in 2004, and took out copyrights, but didn't start making the YouTubes until last November. Sooner or later I'll get the "Crepe Murder" video done.

    Thank you all for commenting -


  31. The stinky sage looks great. I bet the hummers love it. And the Nemophila unfortunately I'll have to just be content in looking at your photo. Your roses look great. We've had a difficult time growing them with black spot and especially powdery mildew attacking the plants even if they were planted in a dry spot and watered carefully so no water got on the leaves. Oh well can't win them all.

  32. Annie, the video turned out great! Your flowers are just amazing...can't wait to see more this summer!

  33. I'm seriously envious of your gorgeous, richly colored purple clematis Annie. It's stunning! The Julia Child rose is equally gorgeous, as is the pink climber and the lovely deep red. If only I could get roses to grow like that! Love the salvia too. In fact, I love all your blossoms.
    The song is such a treat...I so much agree that all the "green" is to the point of being ridiculous :)

  34. Hi Ki - I should plant one of these near the breakfast room window- that way I'd see the hummingbird if it came. Those roses do have blackspot. Since I didn't choose them or plant them, it doesn't bother me too much.

    Lisa, I'm glad you liked it. I'm hoping to get photos of the first of my heirloom daylilies in a few weeks.

    Kerri, this time I was glad the clematis didn't match the box!

    I actually would prefer to be a lot 'greener' than we are, but the initial expense for most well-made equipment is out of our league! We do have some extra insulation and an efficient H/AC system. And I can do the organic gardening part.



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